(Updated)

KLCI ends lower on concerns over continued high Covid-19 cases

KLCI ends lower on concerns over continued high Covid-19 cases
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KUALA LUMPUR (July 21): The FBM KLCI closed lower today as market sentiment continued to be affected by the high number of Covid-19 cases.

The benchmark index finished 3.45 points or 0.23% lower at 1,516.52 after moving between 1,515.34 and 1,521.57.

Rakuten Trade Research vice president Thong Pak Leng said the market ended lower after a volatile session, mainly dragged down by banking, plantation and telco stocks.

He noted however that glove counters rose further amid the rising number of Covid-19 cases worldwide, including that of the fast-spreading Delta variant.

“Overall, the performance of FBM KLCI, which had been stuck in a consolidation mode since the past two weeks, is expected to trend within a tight range in the absence of positive catalysts going forward,” Thong told The Edge.

Hong Leong Investment Bank Research analyst Ng Jun Sheng said in a note today that the KLCI may trend sideways but with an upward bias towards 1,534-1,545-1,556 level (support at 1,490-1,500), amid aggressive vaccination rates and optimism that more states will move to phase two of the National Recovery Plan in August.

“Any correction should be viewed as a good opportunity to accumulate undervalued stocks in the technology, building materials, banks, electronics manufacturing services, furniture, auto, glove, plantation, and oil and gas sectors as the nation moves gradually to Phase 2,” he said.

Overall, market breadth was negative, with 580 counters ending the day in the red, versus 400 gainers and 450 that were unchanged.

A total of 5.47 billion shares were traded at a value of RM3.44 billion.

Index-linked glove makers were among the few stocks that closed higher. Top Glove Corp Bhd rose 23 sen or 5.85% to RM4.16, while Hartalega Holdings Bhd added 31 sen or 4.09% to RM7.89.

Among the top losers were Malaysian Pacific Industries Bhd (down 50 sen or 1.2% to RM41.20), Kuala Lumpur Kepong Bhd (down 24 sen or 1.22% to RM19.48), BLD Plantation Bhd (down 20 sen or 2.17% to RM9).

The top gainers included Genetec Technology Bhd (up 62 sen or 3.65% to RM17.60), Hartalega, and Supermax Corp Bhd (up 30 sen or 8.85% to RM3.69).

Borneo Oil Bhd, which saw 326.26 million shares changed hands, was the most actively traded stock today.

Asian equities closed broadly weaker today, as worries persisted over the Delta variant's negative impact on economic growth, Reuters reported.

South Korea’s Kospi index ended 16.79 points or 0.52% lower at 3,215.91, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index finished 34.67 points or 0.13% lower at 27,224.58.

S Kanagaraju